Port of New York/New Jersey receives ISO (International Organization for Standardization) for implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS). Authority puts environmental programs in place for the future.By George Lauriat, AJOT
The Port of New York and New Jersey’s Environmental Management System (EMS) has received certification for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001. The Port of NY/NJ is one of only four ports, in the United States to achieve ISO 14001 certification. The independent auditing firm TUV SUD confirmed the certification for the Port.
In 2004, the Port NY/NJ began the process of instituting an Environmental Management System (EMS) to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment. Certification covers all of the PANYNJ (Port Authority of New York/New Jersey) controlled maritime operations. The three-year certification applies to its maintenance shops, public berthing facilities at the New York and New Jersey Marine Terminals, harbor dredging projects, and the maintenance of roadways, storm water, and sanitary sewer infrastructures supporting more than 2,600 acres of tenants’ operations.
The EMS undertaking is a critical feature in the PANYNJ’s stewardship at all levels. Achieving certification within five years represents a major accomplishment for the authority. Although five years might seem like a long lead-time, given the scope of the certification, it was relatively fast and reflected the authority’s approach to building the environmental program. Bill Nurthen, General Manager for Program Support and Performance Management at PANYNJ, told AJOT in a recent interview, “We [PANYN] wanted to have a mature program in place before applying for certification. It was our goal to have a few internal audits under our belt before our TUV SUD audit for certification.”
Rick Larrabee, director of the Port Commerce Department, said of the program, “The Port Authority based our comprehensive environmental management system on ISO standards and grew the program slowly. We made a commitment to our external stakeholders – customers, the community, and regulatory agencies –and to our employees that we would be an environmentally responsible organization and that all levels of staff would be solicited for their input.”
An intricate part of the process leading up to ISO 14001 certification was the establishment of a (seven person) team that would be trained like the independent ISO auditors, to administer the annual internal audit programs. Although the team is under the EMS, it essentially operates independently of the department.
Significantly, TUD SUD America cited no major non-conformance, minor non-conformance, or areas of concern. Nurthen said, “In most instances there is some form of non-conformance in the audit process, needless to say, with a clean slate, we [PANYNJ] were very pleased with the result.” He also noted that because of the efforts to have an effective internal audit system in place in advance of the ISO application, some procedures were in their second or third revision prior to the audit.
James Melloni, East regional manager for TUD SUD America’s Management Services complimented PANYNJ saying, “ISO 14001 Certification reinforces the dedication and commitment to the environment that is demonstrated by all employees of the Port Authority’s Port Commerce Department and all its operations.” Melloni added, “TUD SUD America is proud to be a partner in the Port Authority’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the environment.”
Besides the obvious importance the program has for the environment, commercially it demonstrates that the authority takes its stewardship seriously and professionally.
“ISO 14001 Certification ensures that the Port Authority demonstrates the highest level of excellence in environmental management,” says Atef Ahmed, P.E., P.G., manager of environmental programs for the Port Commerce Department. “It provides a framework for a holistic, strategic approach to our environmental pol